“Tommy Kane is looking down on us right now and he’s smiling,” singer Frankie Marra told the audience in Saint Patrick’s Church auditorium Friday night in Bay Ridge.
Marra, who performed and served as host, was one of several local musicians taking part in “Tommy Kane’s Bay Ridge Birthday Music Blowout,” a mega concert in tribute to Kane, a renaissance man who co-founded brooklynONE Theater, wrote the “Citizen Kane” community news column in the Brooklyn Eagle, and was famous for making the rounds in Bay Ridge, visiting concerts, plays, and civic events, looking for material for his column.
Kane, who died of cancer in 2011, would have turned 56 on Jan. 21. Three of his closest friends, Marra, brooklynONE co-founder Anthony Marino, and brooklynONE board member Arlene Keating put together a concert as a way of celebrating his birthday.
The show, featuring bands such as Head N South, Radio Daze and Beefcake, as well as singers like John Heffernan and Kiernan Hamilton, all of whom are legendary on the Bay Ridge music scene, took place on Jan. 24, the Friday closest to Kane’s birthday.
"It couldn't have gone better," Marino told the Brooklyn Eagle. "Getting all of these great bands together on one night was great. It was like Bay Ridge's Woodstock," he said.
Kane was also deeply involved in charity work and Marino, Keating, and Marra decided to pay tribute to that part of his legacy by donating proceeds from the evening to Saint Patrick Catholic Academy, where Kane went to school as a boy, and to the Francesco Loccisano Memorial Foundation, a charity that provides financial assistance and counseling to children with cancer and their families. Kane was a member of the foundation’s board of directors. The non-profit organization was established by Camille Orrichio Loccisano in memory of her son Francesco “Frankie” Loccisano, who died of cancer in 2007 at the age of 17.
Orrichio Loccisano served pasta dishes at the buffet table so that guests could enjoy enjoy the food as they sat around tables spread out across the church hall listening to the music. Joanne Marino, Anthony Marino's mother, made many of the dishes. Rocco Calamari, an Italian restaurant in Bay Ridge, donated several trays of food.
Marino said it was fitting that Kane’s legacy be remembered at a concert. Music was a major factor in Kane’s life, he said.
“He bonded with people over music. He loved going to concerts with people. I went to a Tom Petty concert with him one time. It was a great night. He was like that. You’d be talking to him about music and the next thing you knew, he’d be calling you up saying he was going to a concert and asking you to come along,” Marino said.
The Bay Ridge Courier reported that the concert raised $6,000. Marino told the Brooklyn Eagle that both organizations will receive sizeable donations.